The other night, I wanted some sort of chicken and white bean stew for dinner and went in search of a recipe but what I settled on instead was this Curried Chicken and Cauliflower Stew. I was not disappointed with the results.
I've been trying to clean out the freezer of all the odds and ends I bought on sale in bulk in the past (god bless the family pack), vacuum-packed, and stuck in there for 'later.' There's so much of it now that it's all concealing itself. I open the freezer door and it's just a wall of frozen something or others.
So my thrifty side was all happy about this recipe because I knew I had some chicken thigh quarters and some breast quarters taking up valuable cubic inches in the freezer.
But curry powder is a long-time arch nemesis of mine. I don't know what it is but my usual neatness in the kitchen flies out the window when I'm cooking with curry and before I know it, I have curried sauce splatters all over me and those don't come out. Curry Splattered!
I know what you're thinking: Wear black, for crying out loud! Wear a freaking apron, woman!
But that's way too practical for me. Change my clothes to cook dinner? Pshaw! And I don't wear aprons. An earlier incarnation of this website was a craft blog, I was embracing my crafty side, a side of me which will creep into this blog from time to time, but I kept joining the apron-making projects and I finally had to face facts: the aprons I was making were super-fantastic, but I was not an apron-wearer and so what was I doing signing up for next month's Make-It-With-Rick Rack! event?
Cooking is a much better creative outlet for me. We can eat the results.
In the end I think this recipe would have been better with the boneless skinless thighs called for in the original recipe. All those bones and bits that came with my big chicken quarters made this dish seem a little too chickeny, if you know what I mean. But it was still plenty good and it makes a ton and the leftovers are still good for lunch two days later.
I managed to keep myself splatter-free throughout the cooking and the eating but alas, when I was pouring the leftovers into a bowl -- I even had the husband help me and he poured away from me rather than right at me. I was so smug. Splatter-free, indeed. After stashing the bowl in the fridge I looked down and there were four bright gold curry stains on the belly of my new favorite tshirt.
Those aren't coming out anytime soon.
Curried Cauliflower and Chicken Stew
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 Tbs. chopped fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbs. curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
2 Tbs. corn or peanut oil
3/4 lb. tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 can (13 1/2 fl. oz.) unsweetened coconut milk (shake it really well before opening to undo some of the separating of the milk from the ... hardened stuff)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large cubes
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/4 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (I used peas instead)
Steamed rice for serving
Prepare the aromatics and spice mixture
In a blender, combine 1 Tbs. water with the onion, ginger and garlic and process until a paste forms. In a small bowl, stir together the curry powder and the 1/2 tsp. salt.
Cook the chicken
Heat a large frying pan over high heat until very hot and add the oil. Add the onion-garlic paste and sauté just until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spice mixture and sauté until fragrant, about 10 seconds. (If I were you, I would taste a little bit of it, at this point. It's so good). Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to break down, about 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and 1/2 cup water, bring to a simmer and stir in the chicken pieces. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the stew thickens, about 20 minutes.
Cook the vegetables
Uncover and stir in the cauliflower and green beans. Re-cover and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt. Serve with steamed rice.